July 27, 2017

Did You Know Today is National New Jersey Day?

I had to laugh when I read that July 27th is now National New Jersey Day!  Apparently, each state will now be recognized in the order it joined the union.  Let's just celebrate everything...why not?!!

So, in honor of this *special day*, I collected a bunch of posts I have written over the years highlighting different areas of the state.  Those of you who have only been to Newark Airport and the surrounding areas might be surprised.  (Please click the link below each photo to take you to the full post.)  Enjoy!










Enjoy your day!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

July 25, 2017

Charleston on My Mind and Summer Happenings

I can't wait to read all the Haven Conference recaps from this past weekend in Atlanta.  Unfortunately, I had to miss the conference this year but you can read all about my experience as a "newbie" there last year - Haven Conference - A Newbie's Perspective.

And you can bet I will do everything in my power to attend next year!  While scanning Instagram this weekend, I came across a few posts announcing that next year's conference will be held in Charleston, SC!  I adore that city!  Ever since I traveled there on a girl's weekend a few years ago, I have been dying to go back.
Beautiful Charleston Home

I think I will plan to arrive a few days early to tour that lovely city again.  There is so much to do and see and each home is more beautiful than the next.  If you are planning a trip, be sure to check out my 3 Charleston posts for some helpful tips...

Speaking of girl's weekends...many years ago, one of my dearest friends and I traveled to the fabulous seaside town of Newport Rhode Island.
Marble House Newport Rhode Island

We have been talking about going back and hopefully we will make the trip up there sometime in August.  I guess I better get moving on that since July is flying by!

Adirondack Chairs at Castle Hill in Newport Rhode Island

Not only would we love to explore and enjoy the town but there is another attraction that we MUST add to our list.  I will give you a hint...

Beautiful by Mark D Sikes - My new favorite design book
Please note that this post contains some affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links - (at no additional cost to you!)  Thanks for supporting my blog!

I have been devouring every page of this gorgeous book, Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes and I was thrilled to learn that Mark Sikes decorated the 2017 - Coastal Living Idea House in yes, you guessed it...Newport, Rhode Island!!!  The house is open for tours from now through September 4th so I HAVE TO find a way to get up there before it ends!  

Other than that, we have been staying close to home...just making trips back and forth to the Jersey Shore.
Jersey Shore Beach
We have had some beautiful beach days and warm water temperatures.  Though, some of the days have been scorching hot!  Luckily the ocean breezes have made it bearable!

Which is more than I can say for the days we are back home...

Wet Golden Retriever
Poor Rosie had to resort to sprinkler chasing to stay cool!  Actually, it's one of her favorite activities so we let her do it on those really hot days.  Of course, we pay later when our house smells like wet-dog!  Ugh!

How has your summer been going?
Any plans to visit the Coastal Living Idea House?

I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

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July 11, 2017

7 Ways to Update Your Deck for Entertaining

I recently made a few purchases for my deck and have been playing around with accessories.  This past weekend's sunny weather made it feel like the perfect time to take a few photos and share some ideas with you!

Please note that this post contains some affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links - (at no additional cost to you!)  Thanks for supporting my blog!

Here are 7 Ideas to Update Your Deck for Summer Entertaining:

Deck Decor for Entertaining

1. Power wash and re-stain as needed.  

Cedar Deck Before
Yes, you can see, our deck definitely needed it!  When building our deck many years ago, we thought it would be "nice" to go with a cedar deck.  Not the best idea for a deck that gets full sun - all day!  We have ours power washed and re-stained every other year, although, it probably needs it every year!

Cedar Deck After Staining
My little "dog model" insisted on showing how much she loves the new color!

2.  Make sure you have plenty of flowers or plants scattered around.

Summer Flowers
Even if you do nothing else, having some live flowers and plants around will make your outdoor space feel like summer!

Petunias in outdoor urn
I have been faking a green thumb for a few weeks now but I fear that my black thumb will emerge any day now.  Better enjoy these while I can!  This urn was a Homegoods purchase but I found this similar indoor-outdoor urn which is pretty and lightweight as well!  This urn would also look great!

Pink Petunias

3.  Have a few outdoor seating options.

Outdoor Lounge Seating
I recently bought this seating set at Home Depot.  It was super-inexpensive but we had to put it together - which was not a big deal (for my husband, that is).  It's made from powder coated steel which I heard can rust...probably why it was so inexpensive.  I am keeping my fingers crossed but so far, I am loving it!

4.  Anchor the seating area with an outdoor rug.

Navy and Tan outdoor rug
This outdoor rug just might be my favorite purchase all year!  It's surprisingly soft for an outdoor rug and I love the pattern and colors!

5.  Add a tray and some colorful accessories.

Outdoor accessories
You can't go wrong with a cute seagrass tray - just add some lemons and limes for color!  I bought the white woven bowl in Homegoods but this white ceramic basket is also adorable!

Outdoor tray for entertaining
We are ready for margaritas!  I have had those plastic margarita glasses forever but these colorful margarita glasses would be fun as well!

I couldn't decide which look I liked best for the tray so I also tried it with some glass bottles.
Blue Coastal Bottles and other accessories to decorate your deck for summer
I love the coastal vibe they give.  These are more Homegoods purchases but I found this blue bottle with netting which has the same look along with this lighter blue coastal bottle.

Blue coastal bottles on seagrass tray and other deck decor ideas
I think the blue goes with the rest of the deck decor!

6.  Add some shaded areas if you have full sun (like we do).

Cantilever Umbrella and lounge chairs
This 11 foot umbrella could be my 2nd favorite purchase this year!  Not bad for $299.00!  It's from Home Depot and is one of those cantilever umbrellas so it covers a large area.  This one is also lined with solar lights underneath and gives off a surprising amount of light at night!  If you want a similar look but don't want to spend that much, this 10 foot cantilever umbrella (without lights) looks nice!

The big umbrella provides a nice shaded spot to sip on some cool drinks...
Outdoor drinks

7.  Coordinate your table setting with the rest of the deck decor...

Outdoor Table Setting
I went with a coastal setting to pick up on the blues and also to go with the throw pillows.

Coastal Table Setting

Coastal Table Setting with shells
You can't go wrong with shells when decorating for summer!  

Summer Table setting on deck

Coastal Place Setting with Striped Napkins
For some reason, I couldn't find the rest of my striped napkins so I alternated striped napkins with some white ones.  I actually like both looks.

Coastal Table Setting with white napkins

Here is a view of the whole deck so you can see the layout.  
Summer Deck View
Speaking of "laying out", my fluffy photo-bomber loves getting some sun out here!

8. (Bonus Tip!)  This tip is totally optional, but it doesn't hurt to have a cute dog waiting to greet guests!  I mean, who wouldn't want to pet this little darling?!!

Lazy Golden Retriever on deck

Thanks for stopping by to see how I updated my deck for summer.
I hope I gave you some great ideas to use in your outdoor area!

If you are looking for more outdoor inspiration, 

Have you been entertaining outdoors this summer?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


7 Ways to Update Your Deck for Entertaining


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July 6, 2017

Take Me Away Link Party - July 2017

Welcome to the July - Take Me Away Travel Link Party!  You linked up some amazing trips in June and we can't wait to see what you have to share this month!

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Let's get started with the July party!
  • Please link up to 3 travel posts you have written (new or old - as long as you haven't shared them at the Take Me Away Party before.)
  • Please include a link back to my blog.
  • Please don't link ads or giveaways (affiliate links are fine, though!)
  • By joining the party, you give me permission to feature your photos/post on any of my social media networks and this blog.
  • Please Pin from the original source of the photo.
  • Please visit and comment on as many links as you can...after all, it's a party!
Once again, we are off!  Take Me Away!


July 5, 2017

Take Me Away Recap - June 2017

Wow, how did the 4th of July already come and go?  We just returned from spending a few days at the beach with family - so nice to get away!  And always great to come home too!  My dog, Rosie was happy to return from the frightening cracks of fireworks she had to endure these past couple of days!  Poor thing.

And now that we have flipped the calendar to July, it's almost time to share your latest travel posts!  The next Take Me Away Link Party starts tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. EST.  In the meantime, let's enjoy the fabulous trips you linked up last month!

Carole from the blog, From My Carolina Home shared her Quick Trip to Chattanooga.
Chattanooga - From My Carolina Home blog

Beautiful views, a lovely restaurant and wow, what a bookstore!  She really packed in a ton for a "quick trip!"

You can always count on Carole to share some gorgeous places and this time she also shared some gorgeous cars!
Shelby Car Show - From My Carolina Home

My husband and 13 year old son would be bouncing off the walls with excitement to attend such an event!  What a fun day!

And off to Paris we go with Colleen from 50 Days of No Grey...
Paris in Springtime - 50 Days of No Grey

Colleen shared her lovely photos and helpful tips from her exciting week in Paris.  A wonderful place to make lasting memories with friends!

How about some more beautiful views with Pam from Everyday Living...

Learn about the meaning of "swag" and explore this enchanting mountain inn in the Great Smoky Mountains!

And because I know you will want to see more, be sure to continue on to Part 2 of this delightful mountain hideaway vacation!

Now you will know why Pam would want to keep this place a secret!  Just give me a glass of wine so I can sit and relax by that fireplace!

Let's visit a place that will make you contemplate your own lifestyle.   Join Susan from Our French Oasis on her pursuit of a simpler life in France...

Not only did I devour every beautiful word but found myself actually feeling peaceful after reading her post.  I think I want to move to France...

And being in France would also put me closer to amazing Italy!  Ms Toody Goo Shoes takes us away on a stunning tour of Naples and Pompeii!

The ruins, the views, the history...what's not to love?!!  Her photos will make you feel like you traveled along with her!

And if that area wasn't beautiful enough, she continues on to the spectacular Almalfi Coast town of Sorrento...

You won't believe what a gorgeous cliff-side hotel she stayed in - oh those views!  Grab a glass of Prosecco and take it all in!

And for the finale, join Ms Toody on a white knuckle ride to the panoramic cliff-side town of Positano!

Positano - A Travel Journal of Italy Part 3

During her post she says, "no words" and that was exactly what I was thinking.  "No words" can describe the beauty of this region of the Almalfi Coast.  Do yourself a favor and stop by her blog for some breathtaking photos and exciting Italian adventures!  

Thank you to everyone who stops by each month!  Whether you are here to link up your own posts or to read others, we always enjoy having you!

Please remember to stop by 
on this Friday, July 7th
for the next Take Me Away Link Party!

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Looking forward to seeing you then!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!



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